This past week, I played (for the first time) in the South Central PGA Senior/Junior Championship in Ponca City, OK. It is an annual tournament in which a senior member of the PGA (over 55 years) partners with a junior member (myself) and you play 27 holes – 9 best balls, 9 alternate shot, 9 scramble. I partnered with George Glen of Tulsa, OK – George ran one of the largest pro shops and courses in Tulsa for many years and recently retired to teach full time. With his “new” career in teaching taking shape, we had a very nice talk (had a lot of time being on the course most of the day) about our teaching methods… what we teach, how we teach, etc. George was very curious to what and how we teach as he has been in the business for many years and knows our academy well…. (by the way, we won the tournament with a total of 13 under par….).
As my conversation went along with George, it became very obvious a common theme was emerging. There is no question, the GGA teaches in what I call the “Why”. Not y, but rather, W… H… Y…. our philosophy and model of Moe Norman’s swing revolve around Why…
Let me explain – hopefully this will help you with your swing and your work toward mastering the swing. As I explain, I will also try and help you with references and if possible “shortcuts” Todd and I have created to “speed up the process”.
I believe a person (any person) will start with good intentions or a very positive attitude toward change if he/she believes it will deliver a better outcome. In other words (in golf), if you think a change will help you hit the ball better and ultimately score better – you will want to make the change.
The “kicker” is when the change is hard, or in other words, isn’t comfortable when you first start to change. And if you don’t hit the ball better right away – most will very quickly doubt the change. As humans (human nature) I believe if you don’t understand WHY you are making the change, you will not continue and will revert back to your “old ways”.
Thinking to yourself, “I am making the change to hit it better” isn’t good enough…. you need to define more explicitly WHY you are making the change and WHY that particular change is so important.
Let’s get into some detail (and “shortcuts” if possible).
WHY is Moe’s single axis swing method simpler than other methods. There are much reasons, but I want to focus on one, in particular, that is what we call Position #3, or the “Golden” position, or “Money” position or whatever you want to call it. In other words, all golfers, yes ALL golfers (conventional, single axis and everything in between) who hit the ball well will get into this position. You can see this position in the following pictures on our online instruction:
As you see, this position #3 is defined in the downswing as when the club is parallel to the ground, your trail elbow is in front of you and the club is down the target line or INSIDE that line. It is not and SHOULD not be outside that line – if the club is outside the target line you will come over top of the ball (in other words outside in path (slice), top, cut, etc.)
WHY is Moe’s Single Axis Swing a simpler method to hit that position.
Because we stand further from the ball at set up. Because we stand further from the ball, it gives us more room for our forearm to get into position #3 without having to twist and turn our back too much. Yes, we definitely clear our hips, but we can keep square with our feet, knees and shoulders and “hit” this position a LOT easier and more consistently than all other golfers who stand closer to the ball than we do.
WHY do so many cut the ball or come over the top when this position seems “simple” to hit. As Moe said when performing demos, “Most golfers swing at the ball like they are playing hardball (baseball), whereas I swing at the ball like I’m playing softball”. What did Moe mean by this? I want you to take a ball (any ball) and throw it at something (overhand) with some speed/velocity. As you do this, watch what your lead shoulder does. You will see it pulls out as you throw the ball. In other words it is pulling to the left (for right-handers, opposite for left handers) and the faster you throw it the more it will pull out. You have created this “habit” since you were very young. It is the habit created to create speed on a ball and get from position A to B.
Now you are playing golf. And as you are swinging at the ball, you want to create speed toward the ball. The problem is, your body is used to creating speed on a ball by pulling your lead shoulder out which in turn pulls your trail should across your body. This is NOT what you want to happen in your golf swing.
In your golf swing, you want your trail shoulder to drop (Moe called this his “vertical drop”) toward the ball from the top of your backswing. If your lead shoulder pulls past square prior to impact, you WILL come over the top of the ball – or in other words, you will slice, cut, top the ball as 90%+ of golfers do.
With that said, what do we need to do…. and how can we “shortcut” the process to changing this habit/behavior.
The absolute, no doubt about it, best way to create new positions is WITHOUT a golf club in your hand. Yes, without a golf club in your hand.
WHY – You already have habits formed around a golf club, feelings you have created with that club in your hand, you need to change the BEHAVIOR and then put the club in your hand once the new behavior is created. We have seen INCREDIBLE success with 1,000s of students using the following:
SPPT Drill (formerly PVC Drill) –
I would STRONGLY recommend getting our Troubles and Solutions DVD if you don’t already have it. It explains this in GREAT detail (much more than I could ever write or you could see in these pictures) and it also has many other drills that will help you with your golf swing. You can see a lot more on the Troubles and Solutions DVD page of our website.
Next – you need to use the GGA Training Grip Club with an extension in it (drill or cut the end of the grip out and put a shaft or some type of extension in the grip).
Training Club with Extension
WHY is this important. There are two primary reasons:
#1 – If you are working on getting to position #3 and don’t have a good/proper grip on the club, you are
COMPLETELY wasting your time. Never forget, the path of the club is important, but not even close to the face angle at impact. The #1 affect on face angle at impact is having a good grip on the club. If you want a percentage – you can estimate face angle affects the flight of the ball 75%, path/spin affects 25%. If your face angle at impact isn’t good – don’t even worry about path – it won’t matter. The training grip club will GUARANTEE a good grip and will take the face angle/grip issue out of the equation.
#2 – The extension will allow you to check Position #1, #2, #3 and #4 (please see Troubles and Solutions for more explanation), and will be the transition from the SPPT to your golf club. Read very carefully what I just wrote – a TRANSITION from the new movement/behavior you are learning/feeling to the golf club. And you MUST do in this order.
WHY not skip the SPPT drill?
Reason – because as stated above, you have developed habits around the golf club, or habits as to how to hold/swing/feel the golf club. I have written about this before – calling it the “Trigger” as you hit a golf ball. To change those new / better habits, you must completely change even the tools you are working with. You have no behavior to swinging the Single Plane Position Trainer (SPPT), so getting into the critical positions won’t be a big deal… in fact, it might seem easy as you have no preconceived “feel” or thoughts as to how to swing a stick…. then as you start to check and master those positions with the SPPT – you will then transition into the training grip club with the extension.
Finally after using the extension, take it out and practice just with the training grip club. Hit balls with the training grip club – acquire more/new feeling around hitting balls with the new on plane positions.
[Order your Single Plane Position Trainer HERE]
Lastly, go to your own club and work in the same positions.
So, here is what you need to think about. How serious are you about making changes in your golf swing? And if you want to swing like Moe, how and WHY are you making those changes?
We believe once you figure out the WHY, no matter how uncomfortable, how “different” it might seem, etc. you WILL make the changes for the better.
We see it every day, those who have figured out WHY and have become SIGNIFICANTLY better at this game. Doubt me?… talk to them yourself… just go to www.moenormanforum.com for yourself and talk to them… I guarantee they will be more than happy to tell you their journey and help you with yours.
Remember – Always Practice with a Purpose. Good Luck!!